Heavy Drinking

 Posted by on 29 March 2002 at 3:53 pm  Uncategorized
Mar 292002

After reading Fingarette’s essay “Alcoholism and Self-Deception” in Self-Deception and Self-Understanding, I was eager for more of his unique and interesting perspective on problem drinking in Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease. In this short and very readable book, Fingarette steadily and easily demolishes the prevailing opinion that alcoholism is a disease in which the alcoholic loses control over his drinking. (The scientific community long ago abandoned this view, but it lives on as dogma through therecovery movement.) Fingarette instead explains problem drinking as the result of choices that elevate drinking into a “central activity” in the drinker’s life. He argues that the motivations for the choices that make drinking a core value are as many and varied as are the individuals making them. My only serious objection to the book comes in the final chapter on social policy; Fingarette would seem to be happy to turn this country into a totalitarian state to prevent some people from making stupid choices about alcohol. Despite that flaw, Heavy Drinking presents an impressive and well-reasoned case against the disease model of problem drinking. Similar arguments, I suspect, would apply to any so-called addiction.

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha